The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit's genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including in cooking, fresh eating and cider production. Domestic apples are generally propagated by grafting, although wild apples grow readily from seed. Trees are prone to a number of fungal, bacterial and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means. About 69 million tonnes of apples were grown worldwide in 2010, and China produced almost half of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. Turkey is third, followed by Italy, India and Poland. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Many beneficial health effects have been found from eating apples; however, the seeds are slightly

poisonous as they contain cyanide and two forms of allergies are seen to various proteins found in the fruit. The apple forms a tree that is small and deciduous, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown.[3] The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and 36 centimetres (1.22.4 in) broad on a 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 2.0 in) petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, and 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.4 in) in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5 to 9 centimetres (2.0 to 3.5 in) in diameter. The center of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds, called pips. The original wild ancestors of Malus domestica was Malus sieversii, found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China.[3][4] Cultivation of the species, most likely beginning on the forested flanks of the Tian Shan mountains, has progressed over a long period of time and permitted secondary introgression of genes from other species into the open-pollinated seeds, including such a large amount of gene exchange with Malus sylvestris, the crabapple, that current populations of apples are more related to those of crabapples than to the more morphologically similar progenitor Malus sieversii, though in pure strains without recent admixture the contribution of the latter predominates.